Los Angeles Lakers: from being meat for memes to returning to the finals and stroking an NBA record

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Led by LeBron James, the Los Angeles team broke their longest streak without reaching a finals. And he has a chance to hit a mark from the Boston Celtics, his archrival.

The longest finals drought in Los Angeles Lakers history is over. The team is back in the NBA definition for the first time in a decade. And now he will go for a title that also allows him to reach his greatest historical rival, the Boston Celtics, as the most champion of all time.

The purple and gold franchise is back in a place befitting its successful life. To reach such a position again, however, he had to overcome his darkest years and implement a plan that required his own engineering, but also the complicity of the most dominant man of this era, on and off the court: LeBron James .

If you have to define the passage of legend Magic Johnson as an executive through the offices of the Lakers, many would say that it was – hopefully – discreet. However, his figure was essential to meet the objective that both he and Rob Pelinka, the manager, they set out to take over in February 2017: return the team to glory by hiring stars who had been elusive to the franchise. Thus came LeBron.

Without Kobe Bryant – and even in the last stage with him, when the team could only enjoy a drop of the talent that was left to him, the symbol after multiple injuries – the glamorous half of Los Angeles had become memes meat, in the best New York Knicks style.

For James it was a comprehensive move, which exceeded the mere basketball. In that city he had founded, together with his partner Maverick Carter, Uninterrupted, an audiovisual production company designed to disseminate content about athletes that today defines itself as an “athlete empowerment company”, since it exceeds that first area.

The old role was reserved for another venture The King: SpringHill Entertainment, which also saw the light in California. Doing business with Warner Brothers Through, LeBron got into Hollywood, and this is not referring to the $ 52 million mansion he bought there this year, but to his involvement in a dozen projects in the area and even his agreement to star in Space Jam 2.

Beyond the arrival of the iconic man of the modern NBA, the weight of the franchise did not seem to reach. Both the Lakers and LeBron knew they needed another superstar: they had the example of Cleveland fresh, where in the 2017-18 season, playing almost alone at times -and in the much less demanding Eastern Conference-, James had reached to reach the final against the Warriors but in the final they had not been tickled.

And although they dreamed of Kawhi Leonard, of whom it was already known that he longed to change San Antonio for Los Angeles, there was no case: he would go to LA, but to the Clippers and only after passing through Toronto. They also wanted Paul George, who would eventually renew with Oklahoma and then … Also go to the Clippers.

With LeBron as the only stellar addition, the team did not work and things got worse because they could get worse; because these Lakers did not look like the old ones, the old ones, the classics. Then Magic left that position where the owner, Jeanie Buss, had given him carte blanche to do and undo as he pleased.

At that time, he accused Pelinka with his first and last name of the same thing he had stated when he resigned but without naming him: sowing rumors and leaking critical versions of his work to the media; Say he wasn’t going to the office, that he wasn’t doing enough. In short, to betray him.

Outside the legend, the search for the manager pointed to Anthony Davis. Controversy of tampering (violation of the rule that does not allow discussing the transfer or incorporation in public of a player with a current contract) by means of, Pelinka knew that a plenary session was played with that move: it would be very expensive and would take a player who, a year later, he would be a free agent.

In other words, what could happen to Toronto with Kawhi, who played for a year and left. Of course Leonard left Canada with a title. Could Davis, who had never prevailed in the defining hour of the playoffs, do the same? You had to hire him first.

And before that, the question of the coach had to be resolved. Why Luke Walton he gave the cheers and the first name that came up was Tyronn Read, the same coach that LeBron had in Cleveland. But there was no agreement. Finally, the chosen one was Frank Vogel, who came from Orlando but had previously driven successfully to Indiana and had him fight with James’ own Miami.

With the locker of the coach Ticked green, the mid-year market arrived and Davis did want to join the mythical franchise. He pushed on his side and ended up almost forcing a trade that, it was said, cost the Lakers a lot.

As is often the case in the United States: they bought the house with a large mortgage to pay off.

To take it away, the Lakers gave New Orleans the best of the young core they had built in recent years thanks to draft choices: Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and a pile of more first-round picks.

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